Boise & Garden City

Cranes and lanes: Downtown Boise experiencing unprecedented construction boom

Downtown Boise's new ballroom building gets its final roof beam

The topping out ceremony marks the placing of the building's last roof beam. VIPs from local governments and businesses turned out for this Feb. 17, 2016 ceremony for the building in the Grove Plaza that will house the Greater Boise Auditorium Dis
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The topping out ceremony marks the placing of the building's last roof beam. VIPs from local governments and businesses turned out for this Feb. 17, 2016 ceremony for the building in the Grove Plaza that will house the Greater Boise Auditorium Dis

Downtown Boise has never seen a boom like this one.

Old-timers talk about the Grove Plaza-centric boom of the late 1980s and ’90s, when the Wells Fargo building, Grove Hotel, Boise Centre and other Downtown cornerstones came out of the ground. In some ways, that growth spurt was more important than what’s going on now.

It set the template for what Boise’s urban core would look like.

But in terms of square footage, this era is unprecedented. Depending on where you draw Downtown’s boundaries, anywhere between seven and 15 major projects are under construction or in the planning phase.

“I’ve been here for 23 years. Downtown sort of goes through clusters of activity, but nothing like what we’ve got now,” city of Boise planning director Hal Simmons said.

WHY NOW?

Somewhat counterintuitively, Simmons traces Downtown’s boom to the Great Recession.

“Somehow, it seems to me that the recession just kind of focused demand back to downtowns,” he said. “Many of the larger cities, at least in the West, are experiencing a similar boom right now.”

Those include Portland and Seattle, Simmons said.

MORE PROJECTS

Simmons expects Downtown development to stay hot. He pointed to major projects in the works, including the expansion of St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center’s downtown campus and developer Clay Carley’s proposed apartment building on the southwest corner of 5th and Idaho streets. Simmons also expects to see more projects in the Central Addition area between Capitol Boulevard, Myrtle Street, Broadway and Front Street.

“Unless something really happens economically, in a bad way, I think you’ll see things continue to happen down here,” he said. “Probably not at the scale that we’re seeing them now.”

There are much worse problems than having a boom of development Downtown.

Hal Simmons on traffic snags caused by construction

THE UPSIDE OF TRAFFIC

Of course, a development spurt isn’t all good news. People who drive through Downtown Boise have had to deal with a series of lane closures that make room for the construction of various projects.

“There’s a general frustration with how hard it is to get around right now,” Simmons said. “But people recognize, too, though, it’s limited. When it’s done, it’ll be better than it is. You definitely suffer some inconvenience, but in the long run, it’s worth it. And it’s unavoidable.”

UPDATE ON THE BIGGEST PROJECTS DOWNTOWN

Hyatt Place, 1024 W. Bannock St.

Project type: 152-room hotel

Owner/developer: Rafanelli and Nahas

Status: Broke ground Jan. 27

Expected completion: March 2017

One Nineteen, 10th and Grove streets

Project type: 26 condominiums with private, covered parking

Owner/developer: Sawtooth Development Group

Status: Final framing phase, 11 units under contract

Expected completion: June

Marriott Residence Inn Hotel, 410 S. Capitol Blvd.

Project type: 180-room hotel

Owner/developer: Jared Smith

Status: Broke ground in December

Expected completion: Spring 2017

Inn@500, 500 S. Capitol Blvd.

Project type: 110-room boutique hotel

Owner/developer: Obie Development Partners

Status: Under construction

Expected completion: Late 2016

The Fowler, 5th Street, between Myrtle and Broad streets

Project type: 159-unit apartment building with covered parking and retail space

Owner/developer: LocalConstruct

Status: Under construction

Expected completion: Spring 2017

The Afton, 611 S. 8th St.

Project type: 28-unit condominium with private parking garage

Owner/developer: Mike Hormaechea

Status: Under construction

Expected completion: Spring 2017

Main Street Station, underneath the Grove at 8th and Main

Project type: Bus station

Owner/developer: Valley Regional Transit

Status: Under construction

Expected completion: August

Simplot World Headquarters, Front Street between 9th and 11th streets

Project type: Office building

Owner/developer: J.R. Simplot Co.

Status: Under construction

Expected completion: Fall 2016

Parcel B, Myrtle, 11th, Front and 13th streets

Project type: Unknown

Owner/developer: Gardner Co.

Status: Preliminary planning phase

Expected completion: Unknown

Here’s a roundup of some of the most noticeable travel restrictions in Downtown Boise

Roads

closures or restrictions

scheduled end of restrictions

9th Street, west side, Grove Street to Myrtle Street

vehicle lanes, pedestrian

April 29

Front Street, south side, 9th Street to 11th Street

vehicle lanes, pedestrian

June 15

Main Street, south side, 10th Street to Capitol Boulevard

vehicle lanes, pedestrian

March 31

10th Street, Bannock Street to Jefferson Street

pedestrian

Sept. 5

11th Street, Bannock Street to Jefferson Street

pedestrian

Sept. 5

Bannock Street, north side, 11th Street to 10th Street

vehicle lanes, pedestrian

Sept. 5

10th Streeet, east side, Idaho Street to Bannock Street

parking, pedestrian

June 22

Capitol Boulevard, Fulton Street to Front Street

vehicle lanes

Feb. 24

Capitol Boulevard, west side, Front Street to Main Street

vehicle lanes

March 25

Capitol Boulevard, east side, Myrtle Street to Broad Street

bike lane, pedestrian

Feb. 28

Myrtle Street, north side, Capitol Boulevard to 6th Streeet

vehicle lanes

Feb. 28

10th Street, west side, Grove Street to Main Street

parking, pedestrian

March 30

11th Street, east side, Front Street to Myrtle Street

vehicle lanes, pedestrian

June 15

River Street, north side, 8th Street to 9th Street

pedestrian

Sept. 30

Idaho Street, north side, 9th Street to 10th Street

parking, pedestrian

June 22

Source: Ada County Highway District

Clearwater Building, 8th and Main streets

Project type: Retail-office building with meeting and academic space

Owner/developer: Gardner Co., Greater Boise Auditorium District, Boise State University

Status: Final construction phase

Expected completion: July

Boise Centre East, Capitol Boulevard, south of U.S. Bank building

Project type: Convention/ballroom building with catering kitchen, covered parking

Owner/developer: Gardner Co., Greater Boise Auditorium District

Status: Final construction phase

Expected completion: August

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